How Drawing a Picture Can Help you Get More GMAT CR Correct!

Take a look at this Critical Reasoning question from 1000 CR:

Archaeologists seeking the location of a legendary siege and destruction of a city are excavating in several possible places, including a middle and a lower layer of a large mound. The bottom of the middle layer contains some pieces of pottery of type 3, known to be from a later period than the time of the destruction of the city, but the lower layer does not.

The force of the evidence cited above is most seriously weakened if which of the following is true?

(A) Gerbils, small animals long native to the area, dig large burrows into which objects can fall when the burrows collapse.
(B) Pottery of types 1 and 2, found in the lower level, was used in the cities from which, according to the legend, the besieging forces came.
(C) Several pieces of stone from a lower-layer wall have been found incorporated into the remains of a building in the middle layer.
(D) Both the middle and the lower layer show evidence of large-scale destruction of habitations by fire.
(E) Bronze ax heads of a type used at the time of the siege were found in the lower level of excavation.

This one is interesting since we are not provided with a conclusion, so we have to draw one based on the evidence.

Evidence: Bottom of middle layer contains pottery 3. Pottery 3 is made AFTER the destruction.

I’m going to draw a picture, because drawing is fun, and totally under-rated when it comes to GMAT Critical Reasoning. 🙂

We can infer that usually the deeper the level = the older the time period. Since as we move forward in time, we generally build up on things.

So, the city was probably destroyed around the lower layer, or in the middle layer but beneath where the pottery was found.

Question: What casts doubt on the Type 3 pottery in the middle layer/destruction of city inference?

Prediction: If the pottery was moved around — if the location doesn’t represent the time period accurately.

A – decent choice, shows pottery could’ve been moved
B – doesn’t comment on Type 3 pottery
C – this implies at some point the middle-layer people used the wall below them to build up — but doesn’t show that the pottery could have moved down or up
D – Fire is totally irrelevant
E – “at the time of the siege” is vague — and this doesn’t relate at all to the pottery evidence

The correct answer is (A).

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GMAT CR: “Strengthen” Question of the Day!

A broken shard of glass found in the laboratory of the famed physicist Alhazen has a polished surface that separates out the green and blue spectrums of white light, a key characteristic of a dispersive prism, which separates white light into all its constituent spectral components. Scientific historians, based on this finding, are revising their histories in order to give Alhazen, the “father of modern optics,” credit for the discovery of the dispersive prism, which was thought to have been discovered many years later.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the historians’ decision to revise the history of optics?

A. Dispersive prisms were the only type of prism that was theorized about in the scientific era in which Alhazen lived.

B. The piece of glass from which the shard broke, if unbroken, would have been just large enough to separate out the entire spectrum of white light into its spectral components.

C. The piece of glass was a combination of flint glass, which was known to have been used by Alhazen to craft lenses in his laboratory, and crown glass, another popular type of glass throughout history.

D. Dispersive prisms are the simplest and most common objects that are able to divide white light into its constituent spectral components.

E. Several glass objects that are known to have some properties of a dispersive prism have been found to be older than the glass piece in Alhazen’s laboratory.

Explanation:

Conclusion: Historians give A credit for prism.

Evidence: Glass found that has characteristic of prism.

Assumption: Glass not there by accident; glass definitely means A “discovered” prism.

Question: What STRENGTHENS?

Prediction: Anything that links this glass to the prism, removes coincidence.

A – Other prisms out of scope.
B – This connects the glass to the prism.
C – The type of glass is irrelevant.
D – This is just a fact about the prism.
E – This would weaken, since it makes the glass/prism link less strong.

The answer is (B).

GMAT CR: “Resolve the Argument” Practice Question

In September of last year, the number of people attending movies in theatres dropped precipitously. During the next few weeks after this initial drop the number of film-goers remained well below what had been the weekly average for the preceding year. However, the total number of film-goers for the entire year was not appreciably different from the preceding year’s volume.

Which of the following , if true, resolves the apparent contradiction presented in the passage above ?

A) People under the age of 25 usually attend films in groups,rather than singly.
B) The gross income from box office receipts reamined about the same as it had been the preceding year.
C) For some portion of last year , the number of people attending movies in theaters was higher than it had been during the previous year .
D) The number of people attending movies in theaters rises and falls in predictable cycles .
E) The quality of films released in September and October of last year was particularly poor.

Explanation:

– In Sept, # of attendees dropped
– In Oct, # of attendees stayed below previous year’s weekly avg
– TOTAL number of filmgoers was not different from previous year

Question: How come?

Prediction: The months outside of Sept/Oct made up for the drop & allowed the year to remain consistent

A – irrelevant
B – irrelevant, we’re talking filmgoers not $$
C – boom, matches our prediction!
D – potentially, but more vague than C
E – irrelevant, we’re talking # of people not quality

Clearly it comes down to C and D. C is my choice since it most closely matches our prediction.

Learnist: GMAT Critical Reasoning Overview

The Verbal section of the GMAT consists of 41 questions that you must complete in 75 minutes. Critical Reasoning is one of three Verbal question types you’ll see on Test Day!

In this video, Abi from GMAXOnline reviews the basic format of CR questions, discusses what an argument is, and the parts of the argument: premises, conclusions, assumptions, inferences. She also covers some of the common keywords to look out for on this question type!

As you can see in this video, there are more than half a dozen question-types. Always determine what type of CR question it is by reading the question stem first. This 3-step method is a general guideline for all the CR question types.

This is a “weaken” questions as shown by the phrase “would most weaken.” Weakening questions are one of the most common CR question-types.

Check out more practice Critical Reasoning questions on Learnist!

GMAT CR: “Weaken” Question of the Day!

Try out this medium-level “weaken” question from GMAT Hacks!

Industry analysts feel that Bluecorp paid far too much to acquire rival fiÂ…rm Strickland. While doing so limited competition they face in the marketplace, this approach cannot be proÂ…table in the long
run. Once two rival fiÂ…rms merge in order to increase proÂ…ts, the higher prices would only provide other competitors an opportunity to enter the Â…field at a lower price, cutting into Bluecorp’s proÂ…fits
and making the acquisition of Strickland an expensive mistake.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the
argument?

(A) In some countries it is legal for two companies to merge
even if the resulting entity would nearly monopolize the
market.

(B) The combination of Bluecorp and Strickland creates an
entity whose size allows it to produce items at a far lower
cost than could any smaller enterprise.

(C) In addition to eliminating competition, Bluecorp’s
acquisition gives it a much more substantial presence
in urban areas.

(D) As a result of the acquisition, the new corporate entity
will create two smaller entities to operate as independent
suppliers to Bluecorp.

(E) When two large companies in the same Â…field combine,
entrepreneurs tend to shy away from the fiÂ…eld due to the
single entity’s perceived dominance.


-Conclusion: Bluecorp acquiring Strickland = NOT profitable long-term
(author concedes it DID limit competition)

-Evidence: Higher prices gives competitors opportunity

-Assumption: That the merger = higher prices

The question asks which answer choice would “weaken” the argument, so my prediction is something that shows the merger resulting in LOWER prices for Bluecorp.

Let’s look at the choices:

(A) The legality of the merger is irrelevant to the argument
(B) This correctly weakens the argument! “Lower cost” correctly refutes the “higher prices” in the assumption.
(C) Bluecorp’s presence in urban areas is irrelevant to the argument.
(D) Independent suppliers are irrelevant to the argument.
(E) The focus here is on the entrepreneurs “shying away” – it doesn’t weaken the argument, which focuses on the merger = higher prices.

The correct answer is (B).

GMAT CR: “Strengthen” Question of the Day

Try this Critical Reasoning “strengthen” question from the GMAT Official Guide 12th Edition on your own! Then scroll down for an answer and explanation!

The pharmaceutical industry argues that because new drugs will not be developed unless heavy development costs can be recouped in later sales, the current 20 years of protection provided by patents should be extended in the case of newly developed drugs. However, in other industries new-product development continues despite high development costs, a fact that indicates that the extension is unnecessary.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the pharmaceutical industry’s argument against the challenge made above?

(A) No industries other than the pharmaceutical industry have asked for an extension of the 20-year limit on patent protection.
(B) Clinical trials of new drugs, which occur after the patent is granted and before the new drug can be marketed, often now take as long as 10 years to complete.
(C) There are several industries in which the ratio of research and development costs to revenues is higher than it is in the pharmaceutical industry.
(D) An existing patent for a drug does not legally prevent pharmaceutical companies from bringing to market alternative drugs, provided they are sufficiently dissimilar to the patented drug.
(E) Much recent industrial innovation has occurred in products-for example, in the computer and electronics industries-for which patent protection is often very ineffective.

Let’s look at our analysis!

Conclusion: The extension is unnecessary (the 20yr protection doesn’t need to be continued)

Evidence: New-product development continues despite high dev costs in other industries

Assumptions: That there isn’t some reason the pharmaceutical industry is diff. from other industries

The question asks which would support the pharmaceutical industry’s argument. In other words, what would WEAKEN our author’s argument. My prediction is something that shows the pharmaceutical industry is diff. from other industries, and that somehow the trends of other new-product development doesn’t apply to it.

Now let’s review the answer choices:

(A) What other industries have done is irrelevant.
(B) The length of time involving clinical trials would show what sets the pharmaceutical industry apart. Correct!
(C) This would seem to actually support the argument.
(D) Irrelevant to the argument.
(E) This choice does not show why the pharmaceutical industry NEEDS the extension – it just comments that for other industries, patents are ineffective. In a way, this seems to be the opposite of what we are looking for – the assumption being if these other industries don’t need a patent, then the pharmaceutical industry might not need one.

The tricky thing about this question is differentiating between the AUTHOR’s argument and the PHARMACEUTICAL’s argument. The correct answer is (B).

GMAT CR: “Weaken” Practice Question!

Try this “Weaken” question — remember to take notes on the passage, then compare them to mine!

Although the organic farms in the agricultural community of Greendale are destined to shut down within the next decade as a result of competition from the organic mega-farm Full Foods, the farmland will not go unused for long. In the decade since the opening of OmniFoods, Inc., a non-organic farm conglomerate, a new owner has bought and reopened every farm in Greendale that has shut down due to competition with OmniFoods, Inc.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

A. Many customers of OmniFoods, Inc. are expected to buy less nonorganic food than they did before the Full Foods farm opened in Greendale.
B. The new farms that have opened in the agricultural community of Greendale since OmniFoods, Inc. opened have been primarily organic farms.
C. Many farms in Greendale sell produce that is not available to buy from either OmniFoods, Inc. or from Full Foods.
D. The demand for organic food is expected to increase at a faster rate over the next decade than at any time over the past fifty years.
E. The agricultural community of Greendale currently has more different farms operating within its borders than it ever has before

Here’s how to break this one down!

Conclusion: Farmland will not go unused when small farms shut down.

Evidence: Omnifoods precedent

Assumption: What is true for non-organic Omni is true for organic Full Foods.

Question: What WEAKENS?

Prediction: If there is a difference between Full Foods & Omni’s practices

A – customers are irrelevant
B – shows a difference
C – farmland could still be used regardless of what is sold
D – demand is irrelevant
E – change in diff types of farms over time is irrelevant